This week marks 2016’s Great Lakes Day and to celebrate the events, we’re taking a closer look at some of the efforts against marine debris in the Great Lakes region. The newest addition to the fight against marine debris in this region is an exciting prevention effort led by the City of Cleveland Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, funded by a NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Prevention through Education and Outreach grant.
Teaming up with the Alliance for the Great Lakes and Keep America Beautiful, the City of Cleveland is working with a community-based social marketing expert to research why people continue to use plastic consumer products such as single-use plastic water bottles, plastic grocery bags, and plastic cigar tips. These three items make up 50% of all of the litter collected on Northeast Ohio beaches, so it is important to understand what may be blocking behavior change regarding their use.
Once research on the subject has been completed, a pilot social marketing campaign to reach target audiences in the area will be developed and implemented. This campaign will use communication methods such as outreach at events like the Great Lake Erie Boat Float.
The goal of this project is to reduce littering and the use of plastics by Cleveland residents, as well as to increase the proper disposal of plastic items. Ultimately, the aim is to reduce marine debris via lasting behavior change in the Cleveland area.
Are you up for the challenge? What changes could you make in your life to reduce marine debris?